Nothing makes me want to tear my hair out more than a slow PC. If you find that your computer is grinding to a halt these days, it could be anything from unwanted programs running in the background to dust in the airways. But before you go chucking your machine off of a cliff in a fit of blind rage, there's a few things you can do to clear the gunk out. Oh and don't worry, we'll guide you every step of the way.
1. Restart your computer at least once a day
If performance is slow or the underside of your computer is hot, you may want to try a fresh restart. This flushes out the RAM and temporary files. So, in other words, restarting removes all the unnecessary clutter that's bogging down your computer. It's not a cure-all, per se, but it's something. If you're on a Windows laptop, clicking the Start key and accessing power options should allow you to set the computer to Sleep, Restart, or Power Down.
2. Delete temporary files
Ah, the mysterious Windows temp folder. We meet again.
As the name suggests, this folder contains files that exist temporarily. However, these files don't always get deleted, so they tend to waste precious disk space. To delete these files, select the Start button and type "temp" in the search box. This will open the ever-elusive temp folder, where you can then highlight the files you want to remove.
3. Defragment your computer's hard disk
When information gets scattered to different places on a hard disk drive's spinning platter, performance can really suffer. Thankfully, defragging a computer is relatively easy to do. In fact, if you use Windows 10, the system's built-in tool automatically defrags your machine for you. The same goes for Windows 7 and 8 as well.
But if you notice files are taking longer to load, you'll want to open up the disk optimization tool by typing "defrag" in your search bar. This is where you can manually run the tool. If you're not sure whether you should defrag or not, select your hard drive and click Analyze. If you need to defrag, select your hard drive and click Optimize.
If you have a solid state drive, then no defragging is required.
4. Your version of Windows might be out of date
The cool thing about Windows is that you don't really have to do anything to update your system, as it happens automatically. However, these updates are super important because they protect your computer against malware attacks. They also removes general bugs and other issues. If you're not sure which version you're running, you can check by selecting Start and typing "computer" in the search box. This window will tell you which version and edition of Windows you're runnning.
5. Remove or disable programs you never use
Most Windows PCs are slower than they should due to preloaded software (aka bloatware). Because these programs are constantly running in the background, they really impede performance. By uninstalling these unwanted programs, you're freeing up hard disk space, increasing computer speed, and enhancing security.
If you're using Windows 10, the first thing you'll want to do is open the Start menu and click on Settings. You'll then want to select System from the Settings menu, which should open up a brand new window. Go to Apps & Features (third one down), highlight all the programs you'd like to remove, and click the Uninstall button.
6. Get more RAM
If you're the kind of person that always has a gazillion tabs open, you're going to need a lot of memory so your computer can keep up. Not sure what memory is? Well, it basically lets you do more things at once.
So, if you can't run more than two or three applications at the same time, may want to upgrade your memory. If you're just browsing the web or chatting on Slack, 8GB of RAM should be more than enough.
7. Suck up the dust
If you crack open your PC, you'll probably find a fair amount of dust in all the nooks and crannies, as it tends to get sucked in through the cooling fan. This is bad because it disrupts airflow and prevents the machine from keeping the temperature down. If your PC overheats, performance will decrease.
So, here's what you can do about it. Open your PC and use a small(ish) vacuum on low settings to suck up the dust. You'll want to be careful because you don't want to accidentally catch a wire or dislodge a delicate part. Make sure the PC has been off for thirty minutes first, as the internals can run hot.